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activities - sonora - 2001 - valparaiso


27-31 August 2001

First International Meeting of Contemporary Music


27-31 August 2001 - Valparaíso, Chile


A meeting of musicians, artists, critics, intellectuals and the general public for the purpose of discussing the possibilities of a musical revival, experimentation, new frontiers of perception, contacts and experiences with and for the new music. This is the "Encuentro Internacional de Musica Contemporanea de Valparaíso", that is concerts, installations, master classes, round tables, nonstop auditions, multimedia, fringe broadcasts from Valparaíso University, the Musicamara Hall and environs.
Why this initiative? Because similar initiatives involving new music do not exist in Chile, because they existed in the past but have long since been discontinued, while new music continues to exist. Because Valparaíso has always been a meeting-place as the chief port of the South Pacific. Because, historically, Valparaíso was the first city in Chile to have an opera house, the first to host the great maestri of the musical world, the first city in Chile to assert its own musical personality.
20The intention is to turn this gathering into a regular rendezvous for artists and musicians from Chile, from other Latin American countries and from the rest of the world, an event like the Valparaíso Theatre Festival, the Viña del Mar Song Festival, the "Luis Sigall" Competition and the many other initiatives which aim at transforming the city of Valparaíso, the V Region into the cultural capital of Chile.
In addition, multimedia and nonstop listening to electroacoustic music will be realized on the premises of the Centro de Extensión of Valparaíso University, as well as round tables and conferences with invited Chilean and other Latin American composers.
The gathering is sponsored by Valparaíso University and the Regional Philharmonic Orchestra, and also by the Association of Chilean Composers and the Chilean Society of Musicologists. The artistic director of the initiative is Jorge Martinez Ulloa, composer and musicologist, professor of the University of Chile at Santiago and of the Catholic 20University of Valparaíso. Maestro Patricio González, professor of cello at Valparaíso University, is responsible for the organization.

"The idea of a Festival at Valparaiso was conceived during two meetings with Jorge Martinez in August and November 2000. Of course Martinez deserves all the merit for the initiative, but perhaps it is worthwhile making a couple of comments on the role that European musicians can play in Latin America. Already this term is in itself misleading since a homogeneous entity called "Latin America" does not exist, but rather a group of countries differing the one from the other at least as much as European countries.
I started to hold courses and give concerts in Uruguay and Argentina in 1995, and since then I have returned every year, widening progressively the field of my activities, which this year will include Uruguay (Montevideo), Argentina (Buenos Aires, La Plata, Córdoba, Mendoza) and Chile (Santiago, Valparaiso).
At times an excessively "Eurocentric" vision leads us to believe that our contemporary music is the most valid and best possible; but this attitude in no way contributes either to our own musical progress or to that of other countries. If it is right and proper to make known what is being done in Europe, it is equally right - and, what is more, advantagelojus - to learn what is being done elsewhere. For example, in a great deal of contemporary and electroacoustic music produced in what is called the "Southern Cone" (Argentina, Chile, Uruguay) there is an explicit or suggested presence of popular musical expressions (or ethnic, or folkloristic, whatever you prefer to call them) which in Europe has long since disappeared. Incidentally, as well as being a composer, Jorge Martinez is one of the leading ethnomusicologists in Latin America.
During my seven visits to South America, I can honestly say that I have received as much as I have given - possibly more. I have brought technical knowledge (courses on Csound and on computer-assisted composition) and promoted electroacoustic and instrumental works by Italian composers, but I have also learned to appreciate the freshness and imagination of the new South American music.
One of my Uruguayan friends, the composer Pablo Sotuyo, once defined Europe "a museum"; perhaps it is not so, but it is quite true that we in Italy are far more attentive to preserving the culture of the past than to developing a contemporary culture.
So, what we do and what we hear in Valparaiso (one of the most enchanting cities in the world) will represent a great occasion: the massive presence of Italian music and musicians will face the most recent expressions of Chilean music, and while I have no doubts as to the success of the event I cannot be sincerely hope that this Festival will be only the first of a long series".
Riccardo Bianchini (Composer, Professor of Electronic Music at the "Santa Cecilia" Conservatory of Rome).

Monday 27th August h. 7 p. m.

Guido Arbonelli
Works for clarinet and electronics:

The recital is preceded by an illustrative lecture for university students and young Chilean composers on the use of microphones in computer music, touching the problems relative to the construction of electronic sounds and to "microphoned" execution, which clearly must change in comparison with the acoustic concert.
The programme presents the most advanced techniques of tape and sound construction, but also the technique of the clarinet, illustrating the most important and "contemporary" Italian school, the "new generation" of composers - after Manzoni and Nono, by now historicized - even if already well-known and proven
The theme of the master class is "how to study contemporary music" in relation to the classical clarinet. For Arbonelli, in effect, there is no difference since the musical structure around the new techniques should be carried out according to a "classical" study. The difference lies in the disposition of themes, the compositional construction, not in the study. The skilled instrumentalist, according to Arbonelli, uses highly classical techniques, presenting them in the most contemporary form possible.
What does the clarinetist always carry in his instrument case? The father of contemporary music: Jean-Claude Risset. And then the traditional technical exercises: long notes, scales, never-ending arpeggios, studying the roundness and beauty of the sound. Then always in repertoire Saint-Saëns and Schumann, a Poulenc sonata, and among the contemporaries, Nino Rota and Gentilucci. "My motto?" explains Arbonelli is "to demand aways more from your instrument; the secret that should characterize every instrumentalist is to study other instruments of the same family (for instance the piccolo or octave clarinetto, the bass clarinet) and all the techniques and tone and acoustic possibilities.
Then it should be remembered that although only 20 composers wrote for us clarinetists from the eighteenth to the beginning of the twentieth century, we cannot overlook the 1000 compositions written from 1900 onwards throughout the whole century. Also how can one overlook those youngsters studying composition who certainly will not write like Mozart, but will have to meet different requirements and comply with those more sophisticated of the performers.". Consequently the repertoire must also be flanked by a research into different styles, from Gershwin to Piazzolla, to Franck Zappa.
The lecture-concert of Arbonelli - which is to be repeated in Italy at the Conservatory of Milan as well as during a meeting dedicated to the clarinet at Perugia on September 15 - is addressed not only to clarinetists (who already know the merits and shortcomings of their instrument), but above all to young composers with little experience of instrumental practice. A meeting halfway between performer and composer, an empathic moment of communication enabling one to understand the philosophy and the thought of another person. This is contemporary music today, this is what it must do to overcome the difficulties and emerge from the ghettos in which others wish to confine it.

Tuesday 28th August h. 7 p. m.

Duo Morini/Portaflute and violin

The intention of the programme is to offer a synthetic but comprehensive panorama of what has been written in Italy for flute and violin in the period following the second world war - an unusual duo, and in fact the only permanent formation in existence today is the Morini-Porta Duo which is appearing for the first time in South America.
The duo was formed in 1988, concentrates on contemporary music and has in repertoire over 50 compositions written specifically for it; the two musicians also carry out musicological research on unpublished scores of the eighteenth/nineteenth century for violin and flute.
The repertoire in programme consists of compositions expressly dedicated to the duo, apart from the pieces by Berio which were originally for two violins and then transcribed for violin and flute with the imprimatur of the composer. Two pieces for solo instrument have also been added to give variety to the programme, with the inclusion of Scelsi whose central position in twentieth-century music is being rediscovered.
The duo has aroused the interest of the composers for its singularity, giving prominence now to the one, then to the other instrumental particularity: in this research, the piece by Manzoni is possibly the most interesting for its exclusive use of new performance techniques which involve sinusoidal sounds in the flute and harmonics in the violin. A comprehensive over-acute sound is obtained, close to that of electronics, with a timbric estrangement of the instruments. Donatoni wrote for the duo in his usual structured compositional style: the two instruments interpenetrate in a sole block and the flute conforms to the strokes of the violin bow. Exponent of the younger generation, Cristina Landuzzi explores the expressive aspects of the instruments even although using an innovative language. Guarnieri's Preludio alla notte for solo flute also gives great expressive results: a compact piece in which the melodiousness is obtained by means of a personal and not retrò language, open to new techniques. Finally, the duets of Berio are appealing musical portraits of celebrities and friends, including composers like Bartók, Stravinsky and Maderna.

Wednesday 29th August h. 7 p. m.

Maria Grazia Bellocchio piano recital

The theme of the programme is "study-variation" since it is a classical form which has survived till today and is utilized in different ways by the five composers presented by Maria Grazia Bellocchio.
Donatoni resumes the classical form, virtuosic, ornamental, understood as a variation on musical material; his pupil Sandro Gorli follows in his footsteps. The cycles of Françoise Variationen 20differ considerably the one from the other: the first four are acrobatic and light, the last three more serious, chordal, written at different times over a span of fourteen years (from 1983 to 1996). The technique applied is that of "total variation", as Berio described it in the Fifties, or rather of a different codification of the material which transforms it radically. If the first cycle is the result of seven different codifications of one sole material, subsequent cycles are based on materials resulting from the first cycle, producing a variation of the variation, conceived according to a perspective disparity of seven, each time seeking to involve a particular aspect of pianism, such as legato, staccato, leaps, arpeggios, repeated or ribattuta chords.
The Studi in forma di Variazione of Sandro Gorli are dedicated to the pianist Bellocchio. They consist of a theme and twelve variations: the first variation is a revision of the theme with the addition of ornamentations of an almost baroque type. Each successive variation is structured on the previous one, following the "total variation" technique: revision and reorganization of the material according to new codices that disarrange the "previous figures".
Fedele, on the contrary, makes the form-variation a tone variation, a transformation of the sound and musical situation.
Ambrosini intends his Ciaccona, in traditional sense, as a series of variations on a descending chromatic bass, reviving the antique Spanish dance. "A dance that I find interesting" - observes the composer - because it superimposes two opposed temporal dimensions: veloce and lento, or - better still - appears to wish to develop the fascinating idea of rapidity in slowness'".
The two studies of Colombo Taccani are having their first public performance: in Woher (1984), a high number of diversified situations and events are presented in the short time conceded, even though there is a strong regular tendency to aggressiveness and exaggeration of the characteristics. The complex articulation of the piece is based on the contrast between events formed by a restricted number of notes, more or less in horizontal succession, and events characterized by the tendency to chording.
The theme of Études boréales is resonance, intended not only as an acoustic phenomenon but also as a paradigm for asserting the identity of each sound object. Besides this, the exploration chiefly concerns the timbre while the denomination "boréales" refers to the predominance of colours of a limpid, clear, tactile luminosity.
Although short, the five studies for piano emerge as micro-organisms, each endowed with its own formal identity, almost always defined by contraposition or by dialogue between heterogeneous principles.